April 20, 2019

Woman, two children die in lightning strike – Tharaka Nithi

A woman and her two children died after lightning struck them on Friday night in Tharaka Nithi County.

Makena Gatundu together with her two children, son (form three student) and daughter (class 8 pupil) kicked the bucket after being struck by lightning at Kamujwa Tunyai village Tharaka South Sub County.

According to a local daily, Tunyai Chief Julius Mburio said the family died while they were inside their house on Friday at around 8pm.

The Kenya Meteorological Department this week predicted heavy rainfall between March 1 and March 3.

“This is not the proper onset of the March-May rainfall. From Thursday March 1, heavy rainfall of more than 50mm in 24 hours is likely to occur in counties in Western, Rift Valley, Nyanza, and Central including Nairobi area and Southeastern lowlands.

“The heavy rainfall is likely to continue on March 2 over counties in the South Coast, Western, and Nyanza, Rift valley, Northern, Central including Nairobi and Southeastern lowlands. On Saturday March 3, counties in Western, Nyanza, Rift Valley, Central and Southeastern lowlands are expected to continue receiving heavy rainfall in the afternoon,” the weatherman said.

According to the weather department, the rains will reduce in intensity over the Eastern, Coast and Northern regions but moderate rainfall will continue over the rest of the country.

Kisii, Kericho, Bomet, Narok, Migori, Kakamega, Kajiado, Nakuru, Kwale, Marsabit, Turkana, Samburu, Nairobi, Nyeri, Kiambu, Muranga, Kitui, Machakos, Makueni and Taita Taveta were listed as counties that were to be most affected.

According to the National Geographic, lightning is an electrical discharge caused by imbalances between storm clouds and the ground, or within the clouds themselves. Most lightning occurs within the clouds.

“Sheet lightning” describes a distant bolt that lights up an entire cloud base. Other visible bolts may appear as bead, ribbon, or rocket lightning.

During heavy rains, colliding particles of rain, ice, or snow inside storm clouds increase the imbalance between storm clouds and the ground, and often negatively charge the lower reaches of storm clouds.

Objects on the ground, like steeples, trees, and the Earth itself, become positively charged – creating an imbalance that nature seeks to remedy by passing current between the two charges.

Lightning is extremely hot – a flash can heat the air around it to temperatures five times hotter than the sun’s surface. This heat causes surrounding air to rapidly expand and vibrate, which creates the pealing thunder we hear a short time after seeing a lightning flash.

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